Our first apartment in Chicago was very small and we were forced to fit all of our belongings into a small 12'x10' room. As a couple with a lot of things, this was a particularly difficult design challenge. It took nearly 6 months to figure it out, but eventually we made it into a comfortable space.
You can't see the entire room only because it was too small to photograph. The room consisted of 2 desks, a full-sized loft bed, a twin bed/couch underneath, and a TV stand. It took many tries of rearranging to make everything fit, but with enough determination we finally got it. This apartment was particularly difficult because of its lack of light. Our window was a view of a brick wall. As if it wasn't depressing enough being cramped into a tiny space, we had nothing to look at outside!
With all of these design constraints, we eventually made this into a happy home. Here are some suggestions on how to work with your loved one in a tiny space:
Add cozy elements: We made sure to surround ourselves with plush fabrics and a lot of pillows. You need the place to feel the cozy kind of cramped, not the cluttered kind of cramped.
Surround yourself with things you love: We have so many prints, posters, & knick-knacks. We weren't sure if we should store them or display them proud. Luckily we decided to have everything out. It made us so happy to see our room covered in all the things we loved. There wasn't necessarily room for anything more on the floor. However, there was room for a lot of great things on the walls.
Keep it clean: Always keep everything clean and organized. Lucky for us we are very clean people. We were constantly tidying up and dusting. If the space gets messy at all it will just stress you out.
Remember why you live together in the first place: Every so often, have a conversation about why you live together. Most likely it's because you're madly in love. Tell each other how thankful you are for the other person. Tensions run high in a cramped environment, even for the strongest couples. It's a great idea to take a step back and remind yourself how much you love him/her.
Images: Meg Lewis